Set off by towering pecan trees planted in the 1920s, the majestic Mason County Courthouse claims center stage in Mason, but it’s not the only interesting feature of this picturesque downtown. For starters, the courthouse square is really a rectangle that’s one block wide and two blocks long, one of only nine “two-block squares” in Texas.

More than two dozen buildings that date from the late 1800s to the early 1920s rim the square, including the Mason House—originally the Mason House Hotel—thought to date to 1870. Other venerable structures include the 1879 C&G Building, which was once a saloon and pool hall where several people died in gunfights. “A Walking Tour of Mason’s Courthouse Square,” a nifty brochure available from the Mason County Chamber of Commerce (325/347-5758; www.masontxcoc.com), describes 46 buildings on the square and helps visitors appreciate their history and Mason’s heritage as a whole.

Mason’s square still bustles with activity. On September 5, the Mason County Apple Fest takes place on the courthouse lawn, offering a Try-Apple-On (three-legged race, bobbing for apples, and tricycle race) for children; a Topaz Treasure Hunt for adults; apple soap-making; apple carving; the Miss Apple Blossom Style Show; live entertainment; and plenty of apple-y treats.

From the September 2009 issue
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